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5 Simple Reasons Why I Prefer Non-Toxic Bar Soap Over Liquid

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Bar Soap Over Liquid

I started this blog after I had been searching for a toxin-free baby shampoo for over a month. Somewhere in the midst of the research, I realized that most liquid soaps are not even soaps but detergents made of synthetic ingredients that make bubbles and lather.  Those detergents (aka surfactants) often lack safety data or may cause irritation or allergy.  During this process, I found a few manufacturers that still make real soap. Real soap is made by the process of saponification, where oil is reacted with an alkali (if made correctly, no alkali remains in the final product). If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I recommend saponified soap  – both liquid and bar soap.  In this post, I will tell you five simple reasons why I prefer non-toxic bar soap over liquid.


Reason 1: Non-toxic bar soap is better than liquid because there is no plastic involved


Plastic is everywhere and it is really difficult not to use it without making sacrifices. But sometimes it is easy to avoid it. I don’t like to use plastic because there is emerging evidence that even BPA-free plastic may release estrogen-mimicking chemicals. When the balance of the hormone system is disrupted, there is an endless number of health problems that may arise (read more about hormone disruptors here). We can’t fully know what is in the plastic we use and how it may potentially impact our health and the health of our children. So it is better to avoid it, if possible. So using non-toxic bar soap is a great opportunity to cut down on the usage of plastic.


Reason 2: Bar soap is better than liquid because it reduces carbon emissions


Liquid soap is packaged in plastic. Making the plastic increases emissions of greenhouse gasses, which leads to climate change – not a good thing. In addition to that, liquid soap is heavier than bar soap so transportation of liquid soap to your house produces more greenhouse gasses.


Reason 3: Non-toxic bar soap is better than liquid because it is cheaper


When you buy liquid soap, you pay for the plastic bottle it comes in and for the extra transportation costs. And in most cases, you are paying for the water that makes soap liquid. According to Dr. Bronner, a soap maker of both bar and liquid soaps, bar soaps are 5% water; liquids are 61% water (for more information, visit here). Dr. Bronner’s bar soap costs $4.69, which makes it $0.94 per ounce; while their liquid soap with 12 times more water is $1.12 per ounce. As you can see, it is not a good deal. By the way, you can always make your own liquid soap out of bar soap. It is easy. The only difficulty is to know how to prevent bacteria and mold growth. Ask me how if you are interested in knowing how to do this.


Reason 4: Non-toxic bar soap is better than liquid because it does not need preservatives


Preservatives are needed when there is water or a water-containing ingredient in the formulation. Obviously, liquid soap does have water, and so (with a few exceptions) requires a preservative.   One exception is when the pH is high enough to prevent mold and bacteria growth. However, high pH might be too drying on the skin.


Preservatives are often a source of concern. In fact, you learn a super easy superpower method to avoid using body products with the most harmful preservatives.  To find out what people said about the superpower method, please visit here.


Reason 5: Non-toxic bar soap is better than liquid because I find it easier to use


I am impatient. I tend to squeeze the soap bottle too hard to get soap faster. As you can imagine, I get more soap than I need, which I end up wasting. I do not have this problem with bar soap because I can stop lathering as soon as I see enough lather. And I also like the feeling of holding a bar of soap in my hand. Something about it makes me feel in control.


My favorite natural soap bars


Meliora Means Better: this is what I currently use!  It lathers well, moisturizes, and does not get soggy, which is so important. I had my share of soap bars that became gooey after a few uses. Not this one.  Of course, like with any non-toxic bar soap you should use a soap dish that allows water to drain well.)


Blissoma: This is one of my favorite skin care brands.  Along with liquid facial cleansers, they offer natural soap bars to wash your face with.  I like their cleansing bars but I personally prefer the oil cleansing method.


I do not like Dr. Bronner’s bar soap as well as Meliora’s but if would like to include it here if you prefer to buy on Amazon or health food store.


It is critical to get the right soap dish so your soap won’t get soggy.  We tried a few different soap dishes before we found this one that actually works the best.

So these are my five simple reasons to choose non-toxic bar soap over liquid soap.



Are all-natural shampoo bars good for you?



Why I Prefer Bar Soap Over Liquid



Your Superpower To Read Ingredients

Imagine looking at the ingredients of any shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or cream and in a matter of seconds being able to decide if it is safe to use!

With this easy unprecendented method, you will be able to spot potentially harmful personal care or skincare products that may cause irritation, an allergic reaction, or increase the risk of endocrine disruption or cancer.

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52 thoughts on “5 Simple Reasons Why I Prefer Non-Toxic Bar Soap Over Liquid”

  1. Thanks for the perspective and recommendations! I tend to avoid bar soap because it leaves me feeling squeaky after I rinse off, which I don’t like. Do you know what I mean? Do the soaps you recommend avoid the squeaky feeling?

      1. Will do. I wish I had a better way to describe it than “squeaky” clean… 🙂 it’s just not a smooth, silky feeling I get from liquid soap. Maybe it’s because bar soap doesn’t lather as much?

  2. How in the world do you use bar soap for dishes and laundry? Seems like I could logically figure it out, but somehow I can’t… I understand Christine’s comment about the squeaky clean feeling. It’s like the outer layer of skin barrier lipids is removed? Anyway, I haven’t tried any of the above recommendations, but I have tried Dr. Bronners. It’s too drying for me. Maybe I need the coconut oil soap. I’ll try that, but Luminance is local so maybe them first?
    Oh, no worries, I’m not “on the spot”! 🙂

    1. Actually, coconut oil soap is too drying for bathing but perfect for doing the dishes. You know what? You just gave me an idea. What if I took a short video of doing the dishes with coconut oil bar soap? Try Luminance. And let me know. I have a feeling a squeaky feeling is from commercial soaps. The ones I selected are made by hand. Thank you, Elizabeth! 🙂

      1. Hi Irina!
        My daughter and I got two bars of soap (rose and tangerine) from Kim at Luminance at the farmers market last Sunday. They are fantastic! No “squeaky” feeling or skin tightness during/after bathing. Kim was a font of information and spoke VERY highly of you (all of which I agreed with)! These soaps will last a long time, I think, but I plan on buying more when they are used up. Thanks!

  3. For bathing, John uses One with Nature “Dead Sea Salt” bar soap. I like a good scrubbing and I use Reviva Labs “Seaweed Soap” that is an exfoliant. John hates liquid soap for showers. I used to use it, but I have found that bar soap is quicker for me than putting liquid soap on a scrubber and then having to rinse out the scrubber at the end of the shower. So I think I save water by using bar soap, too! 🙂

    1. Sue’s comment is exactly what I hate about liquid soaps. They leave a greasy residue on your skin after lathering. One needs to spend more water, energy, and time to wash off that layer. It’s moisturizer overkill.

  4. Saving on plastic is one of the major reasons I started using bar soaps. My current favorite is Ava Anderson Body Bar. 100% non-toxic, lathers beautifully and lasts a long time. I’ll never go back to a liquid soap.

  5. I really like using Soaps ‘n’ Such. She is a local soap maker in upstate NY. I love her baby soap and facial soap. She also has hand cream and stain remover (I know it’s a little irrelevant but she makes a lot of great products.) Her bar soap is the first bar soap that I used that doesn’t leave that “squeaky clean” feeling people keep on making comments on. Fantastic article! I go back and forth between using liquid soap and bar soap. I am currently using Alaffia liquid soap and i just convinced my husband to stop using his anti-bacterial commercial soap and after reading this article, I think I am convinced to use locally made bar soap for the whole family. Thanks Irina!

    1. Hi, Laura! Thank you for your nice feedback! I’m so glad that you were able to convince your husband. Those husbands can be a little stubborn at first but they always come along. 🙂

  6. What about palm oil, is it good in soaps? I would think olive and other kinds of oil would be more moisturizing.

    1. Palm oil produces rich creamy lather so it is good in that sense. But too much of it in the soap formulation can be drying. You are right – olive oil has great moisturizing properties. That’s why I use 100% olive oil bar soap on my son. The downside is that olive oil does not produce rich lather. Every soap maker is looking for his/her perfect blend.

  7. Rachel Rich-Shea

    Thanks for the post- I always enjoy reading your input and expertise! I have one question. Can you speak to the sanitizing nature of these soaps? I am a big germophobe 🙁 and I like to feel clean especially after touching things like raw meat or after using the bathroom. We currently use liquid soap for handwashing and cleaning dishes (Dr. Bronners and Dish it Out) and bar soap (from Trader Joes) in the shower. It’s very important for me and my family to be using safe and non-toxic products, but there is something comforting (for my germophobe self) in the “super, anti-bacterial, kills 99.9% of germs” etc. Hoping you can enlighten me on how these soaps can hold their own when it comes to keeping germs at bay!

    1. Guess what? I am a big germaphobe too. So I can totally relate. While researching saponified soap, I did look into studies that prove that antibacterial soap is not any better than regular soap for gems. Let me go back and pull up the studies. I will publish it as a post. Stay tuned. Thank you for this great idea for a post, Rachel!

  8. I am a new comer to the organic world. My daughter has liver disease and so for her I decided to change our lives. So for my preferred organic soap bar I tried canus goat milk. They also donate to various diseases such as cancer. OMG it is glorious. Hands down the softest bar soap I have ever ever tried. And I used to be an all plastic girl so that is saying something about this soap. You should try it.

    1. Sorry to hear about your daughter, Ariane. Thank you for sharing! I could not help but look at the ingredients and unfortunately they are not as safe as one might think. Let me know if you want to know more and I will contact the company.

    2. Bethany Beyer

      Try bend soap company! Small family operation, it looks like they are all natural old fashioned soap makers. Goat milk soap helped their son’s eczema so that is how they got started. Even the hubby liked it. He hates my Castile soap

  9. Do you mind telling me how to preserve liquid soap I make myself from bar soap? I don’t have the resources or the energy (I have lupus) right now to make my own bar soaps but I have a lot of oils and stuff and I plan on making my own bodywash soon. but if I could turn bar soaps into liquid soap I could use that in place of castile for the recipe. I prefer goat milk soap but it’s hard to find a healthy liquid goat milk soap that uses saponified oils instead of “surfactants”. Also it would save me a lot of money (a gallon of dr bronners is $60 with shipping!) and I could try different bars until I find the perfect base soap, if you know what I’m saying. I see that MRH and Dr B preserve their liquid soaps with rosemary extract and maybe citric acid? Is that what I should do? Do you think it’s like rosemary co2 extract or just alcohol and rosemary? I guess I could ask. I do have to pick up citric acid for my body wash anyways. Thank you so much for all you do!

    1. Hi Lynnie, thank you for your question. I have an autoimmune disease too so I understand what you are going through. Rosemary extract and citric acid are not preservatives for mold and bacteria. I’ve made liquid soap from bar soap and I concluded that it is not what I want to do. Without preservatives the product will last for 2 weeks if you use boiled water. You have to use stronger preservatives, which defeats the purpose of making non-toxic product. Also, that liquid soap will separate, which is an issue too.

  10. The squeaky clean feeling could be because (I read) bar soaps tend to be a bit more drying to the son skin than liquid. Just through the process of how they are made. Antibacterial soap is bad news bears! Studies show it doesn’t kill some bacteria such as MRSA. You are always better off using regular soap.

  11. Do you use bar soap as a shampoo in your hair? If so, which one? What do you use to condition it with afterwards? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ariel, I will be publishing a story about different shampoos I have used on my hair. In short, my favorite bar shampoo is made by Valenti Organics (see it here). I love it!!! It gives my hair volume and vitality. It is very important to use vinegar rinse after bar shampoo to restore your hair’s pH. I use 1 part of water and 1 part of organic apple cider vinegar and leave it for a minute and then rinse. Thank you for asking the question. More to follow.

    1. whole foods sells all kinds of products including products that have potentially harmful ingredients. They carry even non- organic food. You have to be careful. So as an umbrella statement, I can’t say “yes.”

  12. These sound like great products! Can you recommend any that are available in Canada, or even better, Ontario? Shipping from the US can be ridiculous. I’m particularly interested in soap/shampoo for my 2 year old who has a number of anaphylactic allergies and bad eczema. Also, does a cider vinegar rinse not leave your hair smelling like vinegar?? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kirsten: thank you for your comment. Because I live in the US, I am focused on the products made in the US but sometimes I find that the best products in their market segments are made in Canada. For example, I found that the best kids rain boots and cutting boards are made in Canada. Why do not you look in your local health store for soap bar brands that are made with organic plant oils and have no word “fragrance” listed in the ingredients? Generally, any bar soap is safer than liquid soap so simply switching to bar soap you will be better off. Once you pick 5-7 brands that you think do the right things, you can contact me for a private consultation to help you find the best for your daughter. As for vinegar, yes it may leave some vinegar smell. We can talk about that too. Thank you, Kirsten!

  13. Hi! I just came across your page and I saw you started this while looking for soaps for your baby. I currently have a 2 month old and have read some disturbing facts about the current baby soap we are using. What did you decide was best to use? I hate all these harmful chemicals in baby soaps/shampoos.

  14. Hi! So far I haven’t found a soap that leaves my skin moisturized. Dr. Brenner’s Castile soap did not help and I hated the soap scum coat on my skin and the bathtub. Do you have any suggestions? I have a toddler and I would like to use one that it is safe for him as well. Thank you for your blog.

      1. I made a big purchase we’re still working through from Apple Valley Natural Soap as well, I really like how long their salt scrub bars last. Would be curious what you think Irina. 🙂 They also had these lava rock soap holders that they no longer carry that are perfect to keep the soap from getting soggy. Wish I could find another vendor for those, they are beautiful and functional and you don’t lose soap material.

      1. I have not spoken with A Wild Soap or tried their products. Just by looking at looking at the product description, the castile soap looks similar to the Valenti’s. Let us know how you liked it if you buy it. ~Irina

  15. Hate to tell you this but using bar soap from an esthetician stand point is very bad for your skin, it is much more drying for all skin types. Also it gathers more bacteria from being exposed and not in a bottle and you just put that right back on your skin everytime you wash so using bar soap is not very sanitary. But hey you just keep using bacteria ridden soap and watch those dry skin and acne pimples pop up all over.

    1. You are funny, Alice! I have not had any pimples or dry skin issues and I have been using bar soap for years now. You might be interested in reading this study showing that even purposely contaminated bar soap with high levels of bacteria did not transfer any bacteria onto the skin. ~Irina

  16. You mention above a soap dish that actually works, but there doesn’t seem to be a product link. Would love to know what you found!

  17. Hi Irina.
    I recently read that since the skin is an acid mantle it should have an acidic soap. I’ve forgotten the name of the bar, but it was available at VitaCost. Do you have any thoughts on this?

  18. Felt good to read this article. I am inspired by your work and got some great ideas. Thanks and keep sharing 🙂

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